Nowhere is the difference in approach by the federal and Ontario governments on new climate change rules more clearly understood than in the offices of Mississauga’s St Lawrence Cement (SLC).
The company, which has a huge production facility in Clarkson on the banks of Lake Ontario, may soon have to comply with new federal emissions regulations and rules announced yesterday by the Ontario and Quebec governments, which are significantly different in effect.
St Lawrence, which has long been the largest user of electricity in Mississauga, probably prefers the federal approach of the Stephen Harper Conservative government, which is governed by emissions per unit of production.
Since 1990, SLC says it has reduced its emissions by 23 per cent per tonne of cement produced. That would comply with federal regulations.
Under the Ontario-Quebec scheme, SLC and other companies would face hard caps for the emissions of CO2 and other gases that cause harm to the atmosphere.
Across Canada the cement industry as a whole reduced the intensity of its emissions by 1.3 per cent from 2003 and 2006.
However, since production rose 10 per cent, actual emissions climbed 8.5 per cent, which is the equivalent of 1Mt of carbon dioxide.
Unless the federal and provincial governments find a way to harmonise their approaches SLC, like many other companies, will have to find a way to continue cutting its emissions of greenhouse gases per tonne of cement manufactured as well as reducing its total emissions. That will be a difficult task while trying to continue to increase production.